Inter manager Antonio Conte spoke at his pre-match press conference before his Nerazzurri side host Roma tomorrow at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Here’s what he had to say:
How strong was Rome’s interest for you and why did you choose Inter?
I have a friendship with Totti from our time in the Azzurri. He actually called me and explained the situation in Rome to me. Then I made my evaluations in a calm way — I didn’t feel as if it was the right time. At that time, no other team, including Inter, was in for me so I started making assessments. I decided to decline the proposal in a very respectful way, knowing that Rome is a huge place and it would be an incredible experience. But it was not the time.
Is the turning point of the season coming?
We have to get to the Christmas break in the best way possible, then we’ll be able to catch our breath and recover some players. We still have four matches left against Roma, Barcelona, Fiorentina and Genoa. We have to grit our teeth and cross our fingers.
What do you fear most about Roma? Did you expect Fonseca to settle so quickly?
Fonseca is proving to be a very good manager even here in Italy. He did important things at Shakhtar. The Italian league is very tactical — it takes time to settle because you come up against opponents who study and prepare very well. It’s a big step but Fonseca has done well to shape his ideas and adapt to Serie A. You also have to congratulate Roma, who is a very competitive, strong, and young side. The entire team has strength, you can’t worry about one player. Both Roma and Lazio are doing very well with their managers and rosters.
Did you expect this Lautaro Martinez and how can it improve?
When we talk too much about a single player or two, we concentrate too much on individuals. I want to talk about the team, Lautaro is growing but I’d prefer to talk about the entire group.